My recent visit to Khatra Subdivision  is a windfall  to my experience.  The panoramic views of Mukutmanipur and surroung hills .hillocks and dam has  undeniably  smoothened my mind. However I got much more than expectation while visiting success  of MNREGAs here. On other days whenever I roamed Jungle Mahal  I had been skeptic as well as pessimistic about MNREGA.  I saw scattered ,unplanned and unproductive works done with the support of this mega project.  Community as a whole harvested little from it. Sporadic ventures failed to make it sustainable and productive.  Multiple positive buds from MNREGA did not come out.  Seldom people felt it their project. This very impression   pained me  every time. However, after visiting  orchard rearing under the umbrella MNREGA in Khatra sub-division changed my mind set. Now I am hopeful with the inherent power of the project  on seeing some of those brilliant works.


The sole objective of the project is not to  give jobs to the odds in any way but to create social assets simultaneously.   It must be productive and bear fruits continuously. Community must share fruits equally. Another point is important to its mission is of social participation, social inclusion  and social resource preservation. Equally important is of incorporation of bio-diversity, which is economically, ecologically vibrant. 


One of the poor blocks in Khatra sub-division is Indpur. The block is dominated by tribal and scheduled castes. Those  low-order people are landless or owner of a bit of lands. Topographically the entire area is undulating, rain-fed and terrain of infertile soils. Paddy is the single crop of the region barring some patched areas.  Vast barren lands are there with out greens.  The poor groups have to migrate other parts in search of jobs. Poverty and misery made them depressed and cynical. Tribals and other SCs lost their confidence burdened with shocks and stress all the time.


 Under above situation Dr.Babulal Mahato- a young block level administrator of Indpur block  saw hope within MNEREGA project. With his agricultural background  he wanted to experiment his earned technology blending with administration and people’s participation. He wanted to make them involved in  mango orchard farming. Initiall it was not an easy job. However, ultimately he managed to bypass negative thoughts. Landowners of the community agreed to his ideas of leasing lands to the SHGs teamed by tribal and SCs.  Under Mnrega    he flowed funds for best utilization of fallow lands with potential ventures. He has shown Orchards prospects in many parts of the block. I have already written the success story of Lipidiri. He has already set up 130 gardens. The new venture is now at Brahmandiha,gram panchayat, in Bhalukbhasa village in Phhlkhusma mouza.


Under Babulal’s stewardship  seven SHG-groups have been formed. One of those group is of Sardars who are tribal. These seven groups have taken lease land of 250 bighas of in a compact block. Groups have been tied with local panchayats. Input costs like fertilizer,compost,saplings and other contigent materials are supplied by the Panchayats. Lease sharing is on the basis of 40:50:10 among  SHGs, Landholder and Panchayats . Landholders  and Panchayes will receive share after the  garden starts harvesting.  This project came into operation from 8th August 2013. They have already sown abot 10000.00 plants. Works is on full swing. Groups have cultivated  seasonal vegetables. We were offered  tasty cucumber while on the field.  Priyotosh Pathak a rural youth is  monitoring the whole program. Pathak’s sacrifice moved me. I apprecaiate his challenge  change in this drought prone area. 


Babulal accompanied me the spot. We shared and discussed a lot. We came to conclusion of refinement of the project incorporating diversification of crops and adding non-crop segments.


Unbelievale experience I got in Indpur.


This model is best suited in Junle Mahal. Institutional arrangements  of the project can be developed in other parts of India.


MNEREGA  is a sharpen weapon , it can  weed out all evils if properly used.


” Hamar Unnati Hena”- echoed by Malati Savar. The same rhythm came from Santi, Usha Binati & others. They all belong to Savar community in Lipidari village ,Ranibandh,Bankura.  They expressed in Kheria tone ” we have developed ours”. I was surmised to their firm,confident and bright looking voice.  Savars are primitive tribal . Their origin is referred in Mahabharat,Ramayan. ‘ Savarir’ Pratikhsma(Savarir’s waiting) is an adage in Bengali. In Ramayana, an old Savar-women waited in her hut for more than twelve years for  Lord Rama.  At last She met Rama.   Our old scripts, like Aitareya B brahmana referred to Savars but recognized as a progeny of Dasuys(Decoites). To these literature they were non-aryans. All these pointed that Savars are not civilized sect and forest people and their livelihood depends on hunting, forest-fruit gathering.   From the writings of Megasthenes, Pliny,Ptolemy we got some informations on this tribe. The Bharat Samhita ,Markaneya purana & Matsya Purana  referred to them wild nomadic race,wandering over hills,living on fruits & forest animals and disobeying rules of  the king.  Their attacking attitude helped establish Murya kingdom.  Limiting those history & origins I say Savars are  at distant space  from settled civilized world.  

Conflict between forest people and  rest grew gradually. Finally, Savars lost their authority in hills,forests & jungles. They lost their natural livelihood. Their seperation from the outer world made them under abject of  poverty. Death of five Savars under starvation in Amlasole stirred the country a few years back. Savars came into news. Mahesweta Devi- wrote on their miserable status and cried for their betterment. Many NGOs and others also attempted.  Another attempt has been made in Lipidiri village in Ranibandh. This story is the focal theme here.

Lipidiri is a small hamlet on the fringe forest area of Ranibandh block adjacent to the Mukutmanipur dam. There are twelve Savar families staying  over 3 bighas of land. All the families are landless. They live on wage-renting. most of the time they migrate to other places for livelihood. Illiteracy ,poverty,malnutrition and jobless are common symptoms of the village.




On seeing their precarious situation,  Dr.Babulal Mahato- an young guy with administrative and technical know-how determined to do something for those people.  An innovative idea sprang to his head.  Dr.Mahato wanted to interwroven  institutions, SHGs ,& technology . His innovative idea consists of formation of SHGs by the women. Those SHGs took lease of barren uplands from owners on sharing basis terms.  Finally, agreements were put to the administration  for support. Babulal with his agri-horticultural background trained them to plant mango-saplings  under MNEREGA scheme. This idea was accepted by SHG members. Now vast areas of fallow lands are transformed into lush green fields.  Their orchards are now in full shape. Returns are high all the Savars are happy.

i happened to meet them. i saw their garden. This role model can be applied else where in Paschimanchal. I also came to know that similar orchards have been made for BPL groups in different pockets of Khatra sub-division.

My appeal is to follow the path shown by Dr.Babulal Mahato.